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Lens Mount Investment Dilemma
  • Not sure if this is in the proper topic. And I know there's no real solid answer to this question as it is all just user opinion. However I'll ask anyway and see what people think. I am currently using a GH2, but I am starting to save now for something more serious in the future. I realize the GH2 is capable of amazing video, but I want something more friendly to run and gun setups, with built-in ND proper audio inputs and so on. More video oriented than hybrid. (Of course if it happens to take nice stills I won't count that against it.) The question is, if I want to spend some on lenses now, which mount do I get? Native m43 lenses are nice for what I have now, but that limits me if I change to something with a larger sensor in the future and generally seem more expensive for the equivalent focal lengths. Canon lenses are nice, but there are no active mounts for m43 and I don't currently own a canon to change aperture so they would be a pain to use currently. Nikons are the most universal it seems, but there's very little chance I'll end up with something that uses them natively since they are behind in video quality at this point...I haven't invested much in glass yet and I'm just not sure which way to go....

  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • For lens longevity go for a lens mount with a longer flange distance yet has a large assortment of high guality lenses. I use Nikon mount lenses and have since I had an M2 back in the day.

  • Leica R would also be a somewhat more expensive option, but with really nice lenses with a long-ish flange distance (I think they can't mount on Nikon, but they can definitely mount on EOS).

  • Before the digital camera was invented, motion picture cameras had settled on PL mount. That's waaaaay to expensive for 99.9% of today's users. But in the 80's & 90's when a crash camera or vista vision was needed most camera designers were offering a Nikon mount (Good cheap lenses, covering S35 and 8 perf Vista Vision). Nikon F mount was also adopted by the Bolex community and the early Aaton S16mm community. When it was technically possible to offer an adapter, it was usually to Nikon F. They were great lenses then and that era of lenses (Manual Focus, AI or AIS) still look great today.

    Shane Hurlbut talks about a lot of option here:

    I have heard great things about Leica R, but, due to the price and limited lens system choice, stayed away.

  • More from Mr. Hurlbut here:

    In this Wikipedia article:

    it's clear that Leica R has a longer flange distance than Nikon F by .5mm and that's the problem, with the predominance of Nikon mount use, you'd need a Leica R to Nikon F and .5mm isn't enough space to easily make an adapter from one bayonet style to another.

    Leica R to EOS and MFT adapters do exist. And to Nikon F with a lens in-between. See:

    Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.13.22 PM.png
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  • I recomend nikon mount!!!! its proved to be a good one over the years!!!!

  • And here is a screenshot from a prime lens line up recommended on

    Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.35.42 PM.png
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  • For primes, contax zeiss are (still) better value for money than leica. IF speed is the issue, you won't be lugging around a bunch of primes though so I'm not really sure what you are after.

  • Thanks for the Replies Everyone! and the Chart VK! Very useful. @RRRR I'm thinking more a couple high quality zooms so I don't have to change lenses as often. I'm often a one man crew... The new sigma 18-35 f1.8 is particularly interesting to me. If they made it in a native m43 mount I'd snatch it up right away especially because of their mount switching program...I may pick it up in Nikon anyway. The only reason I like native is for autofocus while taking stills, but once I get a dedicated video camera I suppose that will matter less...

  • Maybe a c100 would be a good choice for you?

    A plus if you want the sigma for m43 would be if you get both a speedbooster and a normal, high quality adapter. It will give you a greater range but not much more to carry around. A matched prime, (normal or short tele) and/or perhaps a 70-200 (tamron has a new f2.8 which will work great for video).

    I agree that going with quality zooms seems like the best option for your needs.

  • Yes, I've been looking pretty closely at the c100, which is why I kind of wanted Ef mount...too bad they only have dumb adapters for m43...I'm hoping the price of the c100 will have to drop soon considering it's competition with things like the GH4, which is really only missing built in NDs...

  • GH4 plus matte box with filter trays for NDs? There are some pretty good inexpensive matte boxs on this site's deals section/threads.

  • @matt_gh2 While a good solution for many, it's not recommended when you have to be quick to get the shot IMO. A fader ND is really the only viable choice. Not ideal from a IQ POV but sooo much faster to work with.

    @matticusmaximus Yeah.. Hopefully metabones can iron something out soon. In any case there will be second hand units available before long. With sigma's mount replacement programme you could go Sigma all the way for now. The 50mm art lens doesn't come cheap though! (should be awesome, no doubt) I'm guessing there will be a faster zoom in normal to tele range in the a series before long.

  • @RRRR That's a good point. I kinda have this crazy idea that you could prep some trays with NDs in them, and have those trays in a pouch that attaches to your belt. Kinda like how Tiffen ND sets come in pouch, but this would be a slightly bigger pouch full of trays with NDs ready to drop into the matte box slots.

  • Interesting idea @matt_gh2 - I don't think it would be fast enough for certain work (for some docu works one should have started shooting 2-3 seconds ago - in other words, ideally shoot with a cam that has pre-rec capabilities and use a couple of seconds for adjustments), but definately an interesting possibility for a lot of work where speed is paramount.

  • Yes I am with RRRR on having to to take time with Matteboxes and NDs. Really I'm not a fan of the Faders either which is why I really just want a camera with a couple built in...The Mattebox idea isn't bad, it's just not ideal...It's really annoying to me that the real difference between an inexpensive camera and an expensive one isn't picture quality anymore it's operational things like ND filters and focus/exposure tools, and proper audio jacks...c100 has all those things and price isn't terrible but there are much cheaper cameras with better image quality/more recording is a weird time in the camera industry. Very good for low budget guys like me, but still strange.

  • Yeah, I hear you. There's always something that might feel constrained on low budget. I also kinda feel lucky though, given image quality we can get versus even 10 years ago. Best of luck on lens mount and lens decisions.